Influence of temperature cycling and pore fluid on tensile strength of chalk

T. Voake*, A. Nermoen, C. Ravnås, R. I. Korsnes, I.L. Fabricius

*Corresponding author for this work

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Calcite has a highly anisotropic thermal expansion coefficient, and repeated heating and cooling cycles can potentially destabilize chalks by breaking cement bonds between neighboring particles. Based on tensile strength measurements, we investigated how temperature cycles induce weakening of chalk. Tensile strength tests were performed on chalk specimens sampled from Kansas (USA) and Mons (Belgium), each with differing amounts of contact cement. Samples of the two chalk types were tested in dry and water-saturated states, and then exposed to 0, 15, and 30 temperature cycles in order to find out under what circumstances thermally induced tensile strength reduction occurs. The testing results show that the dry samples were not influenced by temperature cycling in either of the chalk types. However, in the water-saturated state, tensile strength is increasingly reduced with progressive numbers of temperature cycles for both chalk samples, especially for the more cemented Kansas chalk. The Kansas chalk demonstrated higher initial tensile strength compared to the less cemented Mons chalk, but the strength of both chalks was reduced by the same relative proportion when undergoing thermal cycles in the water-saturated state.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)277-288
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Anisotropic thermal expansion
  • Tensile strength
  • Weakening by heating and cooling cycles

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